The Kenyan Law Reports (KLR), a free Kenyan Law database, was just announced winner of the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) 2011 Website Award Competition. With this award, Kenyan Law Reports joins the ranks of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law websites that claimed the 2010 and 2009 awards respectively.
Although a success by any measure, the fact that the other nominees for this coveted recognition were topnotch websites makes Kenyan Law Reports’ win all the more remarkable. Kenya Law Reports competition included:
- Global Legal Information Network (GLIN);
- International Comparative Legal Guide Series;
- RIS – Bundeskanzleramt Rechtsinformationssystem;
- War Crimes Research Office, Jurisprudence Collections; and
Kenya Law Reports’ win is bittersweet for me. As a member of the Global Legal Research Center at the Law Library of Congress, I was rooting for GLIN or THOMAS out of institutional loyalty, which made Kenya Law Reports’ win sting a bit. However, as a person who relies heavily on the website for Kenya related research inquiries, I recognize that it is deserving of this recognition.
The purpose of this competition is, as indicated in the International Association of Law Libraries website, “to recognize and promote free legal information websites that are authoritative, comprehensive, up-to-date, useful, and user-friendly.” Kenya Law Reports meets these standards and then some.
Kenya Law Reports makes available primary sources of the laws of Kenya, case law and consolidated laws (Acts) including their subsidiary legislation for both of which it is the official source. Both these sources are presented in a user friendly way; they are both searchable and all amendments to the Acts are incorporated into the body of the original Act. In addition, it recently introduced a new product called KLR Monthly, a monthly digest of decisions issued in the highest courts of the country for the purpose of providing “contextually relevant case law information.” Did I also mention that all this information is available free of charge?
The menu of legal publications available in the Kenya Law Reports also includes legislative history going back to the early 1900’s; searchable collection of gazettes; bills, both officially and unofficially published; repealed statutes; bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements to which Kenya is a party or has taken steps to join; and other secondary sources including scholarly articles. It is indeed a gold mine for researchers!
Kenya Law Reports’ street credibility as a reliable source of legal information was established well before the International Association of Law Libraries competition. The National Council for Law Reporting, the semi-autonomous state agency that manages the website, went into the International Association of Law Libraries competition with two awards already under its belt. In December 2010, it won the Company of the Year Judges Award. Again, in May 2011, it won a Technology in Government in Africa (TIGA) Award in the ‘public service delivery to citizens/communities’ category, a competition that “celebrates the commitment of African governments to e-government.”
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate The National Council for Law Reporting for a job well done!